Glaucoma is an eye health concern that can be present for years before you notice any symptoms. Having annual eye exams by a licensed Optometrist can help to detect and treat Glaucoma before it becomes a serious issue affecting your vision.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the continued build-up of fluid in the eye that starts to put pressure on the optic nerve. It is a condition that can start to develop without any noticeable symptoms, but it can become extremely painful over time. Once the damage to the optic nerve begins, it must be corrected to prevent permanent damage to your vision.
How is Glaucoma Detected?
When you come in for a comprehensive eye exam at Optical Solutions, one of the tools used to detect glaucoma is a Tonometry test. This test measures the pressure inside your eye, called the Intraocular Pressure or the IOP. The Tonometry measures the pressure in your eye by recording the resistance of your cornea to the pressure applied. The Tonometry method used at Optical Solutions is the noncontact tonometry method. This method, also known as the air puff, uses a puff of air to flatten your cornea. The noncontact tonometry method is the simplest way to check for high IOP and is also the best way to test children. The IOP is considered normal when it is between 12 – 22 mm Hg. Eye pressure above 22 mm Hg is considered higher than normal, and could be a sign of glaucoma.
What Causes Glaucoma?
The simple explanation as to what causes glaucoma is that the filter which allows eye fluid to drain out of the eye gets blocked causing the fluid to become trapped behind the clogged filter. When the internal eye structures is prevented from regulating intraocular pressure (IOP), the eye pressure levels can rise quickly causing glaucoma. Since the eyes do not have a way to relieve the pressure, the pressure continues to build and begins to push against the optic nerve, causing the optic nerve fibers to become damaged and cause vision loss. When glaucoma progresses, the injured neurons cause eye damage in the form of peripheral vision loss.
Furthermore, the eye’s anatomy contains drainage angles. If these drainage angles are narrow or “closed,” it makes it difficult for the eye to release the fluid or aqueous. An open angle can also interrupt the flow of aqueous, if structural damage already exist within the ocular tissue of the angle itself.
As mentioned previously, a high IOP is associated with glaucoma, but having a normal IOP can also cause glaucoma. This often happens to people who have highly pressure-sensitive optic nerves, that are susceptible to damage from what is considered to be a “normal” IOP. The best way to detect glaucoma with a normal IOP is by directly examining the optic nerve and a visual field testing.
Who is Most Susceptible to Glaucoma?
Glaucoma can occur as the result of a genetic history or it can occur as part of conditions such as diabetes. In most cases, the condition does not start to show symptoms until the person reaches their 40’s. However, symptoms such as blurred vision and pain associated with the eye have been known to occur in people who are much younger.
What is the Treatment?
Optometrist and Ophthalmologists use treatment methods that range anywhere from prescribed eye drops to surgical procedures to repair the condition. The prognosis for recovery is very high, as long as the condition is diagnosed and treated at its earliest stages.
Glaucoma left untreated or ignored could result in severe vision issues and in some cases blindness. If you take time to visit your Optical Solutions eye care provider at least once each year, then they can track any changes in your eye health that could lead to glaucoma. If any eyesight issues are discovered during your eye exam, the eye doctor can recommend effective preventive measures to take care of the problem.
Importance of an Annual Eye Exam
Scheduling an annual eye exam at Optical Solutions is critical to monitoring your vision health and detecting the early signs of Glaucoma. Schedule your eye exam today.